New Character, “Eli the Elk,” Traveling Nationwide to Promote Funding for National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C.

National Public Lands Day 2014

 

In celebration of National Public Lands Day 2014, check out our video about Corps and their importance to America's public lands.

Limitless Vistas Receives NOLA for Life Grant to Aid At-Risk Youth

Taylor Collins adds a fresh coat of paint to the playground equipment at the sixth NOLA FOR LIFE Day held at A.L. Davis Playground in the Central City neighborhood on Saturday. (Brian Kozak Photo)

Taylor Collins adds a fresh coat of paint to the playground equipment at the sixth NOLA FOR LIFE Day held at A.L. Davis Playground in the Central City neighborhood on Saturday. (Brian Kozak Photo)

Article, written by Patrick A. Barnes, appears in The Times-Picayune as a Letter to the Editor. Published June 25, 2014.

As one of the City of New Orleans' NOLA for Life grant recipients we are very excited to support Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu's leadership role as a sponsor of a resolution support­ing the Land Water Conserva­tion Fund, or LWCF, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

LWCF has helped cre­ate more than 42,000 proj­ects found in 98 percent of the nation's counties, including state and local parks, play­grounds, urban wildlife refuges, greenways, trails and other open spaces.

Limitless Vistas actively engages at-risk young adults through our programs in ser­vice learning activities in local, regional and national parks. These open spaces and recre­ational opportunities created by LWCF provide outlets for New Orleans' young people to get outside and improves the chances that they will stay out of trouble -- an important element of Mayor Landrieu's NOLA for Life campaign.

But LWCF is frequently shortchanged by Congress -- funded at a small fraction of its full level of $900 million. With funding coming from offshore oil and gas development, rather than taxpayers, there is no excuse for Congress not fulfill­ing its promise.

Patrick A. Barnes

Founder and chairman

Limitless Vistas

New Orleans

Southeast Youth Corps Introduces Their First-Ever AmeriCorps Conservation Crew: the Bobincas

Article, written by Corpsmember Joe Sherman, appears on Southeast Youth Corp's website.

The week started for the first ever Americorps SYC crew with a drizzle of rain, but our spirits were not dampened at all! Under the stalwart guidance of our trusty leaders Randolph “The Rock Man” Hudson and Ellen “Aces” Baker, we spent the first part of Monday morning at the office going through training and basic orientation. Sarah, Molly, Taylor, Joe, Josh, and Vicky are our names, and we soon joined together under the team name “Bobincas,” a name which will hopefully live on into legacy. The crew lost no time in meshing well, and upon arriving at the work site and meeting the delightfully soft-spoken and enthusiastic Ranger Bobby Fulcher, the heartbeats of all of us were quickly elevated by the prospect of beginning work, and later with the physical efforts demanded of us.

Our primary task all week involved shifting large stones to create a rock staircase down which nature enthusiasts might trod for generations to come. The Rock Man called it a “hundred year staircase,” and we all soon learned the precision and detail that such a task required. Ranger Bob pointed out that such staircases are reminiscent of the Incan stone wonders of Machu Pichu, and thus the name Bobincas was born. There were several core components for the corps to incorporate into the hillside corporeity, namely creating more than just a little “crush” by crushing small rocks into smaller rocks, “rock-shopping” for the stones that had the correct dimensions and features for each section of the staircase, moving the stones from their various locations via rock sling, teamwork, and brute force, and the actual act of using crush, rock bar, double-jack, shovel, and pick mattock to securely set the stones in their new homes among their new stone friends.  

Many highlights of the week were experienced, not least of all the morning stretch and exercise circle, the verbal distribution of local lore by Ranger Bob, and the formal expulsion by the Rangers of many trespassing wayfarers who had bypassed the “Park Closed Until July 1” signs. We installed thirteen steps in total, rerouted a creek, and helped delineate trails. All of us drastically increased our proficiency with this particular form of landscape architecture, as well as our skills with the sundry tools involved in it’s realization. Team Bobincas has set a firm foundation for the remainder of our 8-week program, a foundation as strong as the keystone steps on our Incan escalator. 

A Photo Collage for Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

After receiving a photo from Mile High Youth Corps with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell from last week's announcement of 21st Century Conservation Service Corps grants, we thought "Wow! Secretary Jewell really has visited with a large number of Corpsmembers and Corps staff nationwide."

Based on our count, in only slightly over a year in office, Secretary Jewell has already met Corpsmembers from a total of 20 different Service and Conservation Corps programs! (See the list below) She has also spent time with youth and Corps completing service projects.

As a token of appreciation, we pulled together all of our photos from her visits to Corps and public lands, as well as photos from the FDR Memorial and The Corps Network 2014 National Conference. We hope you enjoy the collage. If you want to share it, we posted it on Twitter and Facebook.

1. Urban Corps of San Diego County
2. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
3. Kupu / Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps
4. EOC Fresno Local Conservation Corps
5. CiviCorps
6. Southwest Conservation Corps
7. Northwest Youth Corps
8. California Conservation Corps
9. Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa
10. New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg
11. Earth Conservation Corps
12. DC Green Corps
13. Montgomery County Conservation Corps
14. Student Conservation Association
15. Conservation Corps North Bay
16. Utah Conservation Corps
17. Mile High Youth Corps
18. EarthCorps
19. LA Conservation Corps
20. Montana Conservation Corps

Kupu Leader Co-Authors Op-Ed on Benefits of Conservation to Hawaii

John Leong, Executive Director of Kupu, operators of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, recently co-authored an editiorial published by the Star Advertiser. It is republished below. 

Island Voices: Efforts to restore Hawaii's ecosystem serve many socially beneficial goals

By Josh Stanbro and John Leong

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, May 11, 2014

Our freshwater streams and ocean have long been at the center of Hawaii's culture and ecosystem.

Today, the impacts of climate change and changing land uses are threatening the balance of our environment, reducing our rainfall, eroding our beaches and harming our ocean resources.

To address these challenges, the Hawaii Community Foundation recently announced its 2014 grant recipients from the Community Restoration Partnership grant program.

The partnership brings together forward-thinking donors and dynamic nonprofit programs to find solutions for the critical challenge of our time: How do we make Hawaii as secure as possible in the face of diminishing fish stocks, invading species and increasing drought?

Since 2009, the partnership has worked collaboratively to protect Hawaii's nearshore ecosystems and encourage a robust, healthy fish population that will sustain future generations.

The partnership has come to understand that it can't fix Hawaii's reefs and stabilize its marine environment without following the problem upstream, addressing the source. In order to achieve a sustainable future, we must restore our coastal lands and waters from mauka to makai.

As one of nine partnership grantees for 2014, Kupu's Community U program is one bright example of Hawaii's people coming together to protect our island home. Community U puts underserved youth to work on the ground at conservation and cultural sites throughout the state, providing assistance and aid to grassroots restoration efforts.

On Oahu's windward side at Heeia, for example, invasive plants with shallow root systems have crowded out native growth along natural streams and traditional taro lo'i, allowing soil to be stripped from the land and eventually swept into the sea. Hawaii's fish populations and coastal waters have become threatened by tons of sediment gradually smothering the once-healthy coral reef systems. Here, Kupu is hard at work with Papahana Kuaola and Kako'o ʻŌiwi to remove invasive species, replant native vegetation and restore traditional taro lo'i that trap sediment and clean stormwater runoff.

Beyond this important work to repair terrestrial and marine resources, Kupu's Community U program provides opportunities for at-risk youth coming from difficult situations (in some cases, incarceration) to turn their lives around -- a second chance to obtain a diploma, gain transferable job skills, develop life skills and successfully build career pathways.

Hawaii's environment has been impaired because of human impact, certainly, but our greatest threat is apathy. Community U tackles these challenges head-on both by reversing damage to the land now, and restoring our youth as responsible change agents who care and are dedicated to stewarding themselves and our islands over the long term.

Our quality of life and the resilience of our aina and oceans in the 21st century are directly dependent on the people of Hawaii healing the land, and the land in turn helping to heal us.

Thanks to forward-thinking grant funders -- including the Hawaii Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Weissman Family Foundation, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation -- the partnership is able to directly support restoration projects for a cleaner, healthier Hawaii.

Work is underway to clear the waters at Heeia, but Hawaii needs community restoration projects in every single ahupua'a around our Islands.

Restored lands defend against the scourge of invasive species, capture precious raindrops and absorb them into our aquifers, and hold the line against sediment and erosion that reduce our marine and fish populations.

The Community Restoration Partnership firmly believes in supporting community groups that organize in their backyard to restore their own beloved places. We encourage other funders and donors to join the partnership and expand our impact.

 

The Corps Network Receives National AmeriCorps Grants

AmeriCorps members of Kupu's Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps at work. 

Numerous Members of The Corps Network Participating in National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 28th is National Public Lands Day, and several members of The Corps Network are helping to lead events! Below you will find links and brief descriptions of the events that Corps will be helping to organize and make successful. You can also find a list of projects near to where you are by using the search tool on the National Public Lands Day website.

American Youthworks / Texas Conservation Corps (Austin, Texas)

Please join Texas Conservation Corps and Austin Parks Foundation for National Public Lands Day this Saturday, September 28th, 2013.
There are over 25 work projects across Austin that will be followed with an awesome lunch and after party at Zilker Park.  There will be food, drink, t-shirts and a give away of 20 3-day passes to ACL fest!
Flex Austin's volunteer muscle by celebrating this 20 year anniversary of National Public Lands Day!

Register at NPLD/Austin

Civic Works and The Student Conservation Association (Baltimore, Maryland)

Be a part of Maryland's Day to Serve initiative by giving back to Baltimore's public green spaces! In partnership with Civic Works, The Student Conservation Association will lead a group of volunteers in trail restoration work at Baltimore's own Gwynns Falls Leakin Park! Volunteers should be sure to wear long pants and closed toed shoes that they don't mind getting dirty! Snacks and lunch provided. Sign up today!

When: Saturday, October 5th, 2013 (9am – 1pm)

Where: Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, 4600 North Franklintown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21289

What: Trail cleanup and maintenance

To register contact SCA's Service Event's Manager Lori Robertson at lrobertson@thesca.org or 703-524-2441

Greening Youth Foundation (Atlanta, Georgia)

The Greening Youth Foundation will be helping to take part in activities at Martin Luther King National Historic Site, and will be joined by special guests Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and music star Cee Lo Green! They will also host their "Urban Campout." Campers will engage in an overnight urban camping experience & camp site fun that includes instruction, entertainment, and food! Send contact information to Rkitchen@gyfoundation.org or Lbrown@gyfoundation.org if you’re interested in participating with this event. *Open to High School  students and approved chaperones only.

Montana Conservation Corps (Throughout Montana)

Helena: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/centennial-park

Kalispell: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/pompeys-pillar-national-monument-0

Billings: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/pompeys-pillar-national-monument-0

Missoula: Fort Missoula Regional Park

Bozeman: Gallatin County Regional Park

Southwest Conservation Corps (Colorado and Arizona)

In Durango, Colorado:

Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) and community volunteers will participate in a day of community service to celebrate 15 years of serving the Four Corners and the 20th annual National Public Lands Day.  Twenty-eight SCC AmeriCorps Volunteers in addition to SCC staff and other volunteers will work on Chris Park trails (Hwy 550 N) in San Juan National Forest on Saturday morning to improve our public lands while celebrating this event with local community partners and participants.  Volunteer crews will be working on Haviland View Trail and Chris Park Trail to improve conditions and make trails more sustainable for all users including hikers, horses, and bicycles.  The event will take place from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., followed by a lunch celebration near the Chris Park campground. 

As part of the national movement to support and maintain public lands while enjoying nature, SCC volunteers will be among the more than 175,000 volunteers contributing to public lands on this day throughout the United States. Southwest Conservation Corps strives to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment and has been accomplishing conservation work throughout the region for 15 years, improving local lands while impacting the lives of more than 4,500 AmeriCorps Volunteers. 

Volunteers from the Durango and surrounding communities are welcome to join SCC this Saturday morning to get their hands dirty.  Volunteers should RSVP with Kevin Heiner, 970-403-0145, kevin@sccorps.org and arrive at the Chris Park Group Campground on Saturday at 8am with boots, water, and rain gear. Tools and food will be provided.  

In Arizona (Molino Canyon):

The Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District along with REI and the Southwest Conservation Corps will be hosting a volunteer event Saturday, September, 28 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.  Come join us as  we work on cleaning up the Catalina Highway’s vistas,  trail heads, and parking pullouts.  Snacks, water, and lunch will be provided!  See you there!

Additional Information

The Student Conservation Association (Nationwide)

The Student Conservation Association is hosting events in Chicago, Anchorage, Houston, Moab, Seattle, and Richmond.

All of the details here! 

Boiler Plate: 
Saturday, September 28th is National Public Lands Day, and several members of The Corps Network are helping to lead events! Below you will find links and brief descriptions of the events that Corps will be helping to organize and make successful.

Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Launches

Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Budget and Management at the Department of Interior (DOI) talks about the vision for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

Yesterday in Washington, D.C. the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps launched with a meeting attended by over 50 people from numerous federal agencies, nonprofits, and youth policy groups. The Partnership is an effort to support the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service.

More specifically, the Partnership provides an interface for private partners to regularly interface with members of the National Council established earlier this year by 8 federal agencies to guide the implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, following the completion of work by a Federal Advisory Committee that provided recommendations on how to structure, organize, and implement a program of this kind.

At the meeting Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Budget and Management at the Department of Interior (DOI), spoke about the work that had occured so far to establish a 21CSC. Suh said that despite sequestration cuts and a general lack of new funding, that DOI plans to continue the momentum toward the large vision that the Federal Advisory Committee for the 21CSC mapped out. Another key theme throughout the discussion focused upon how Corps can help federal agencies, cities, and other partners to accomplish essential work during this era of limited budgets with a high degree of professionalism and low cost. Getting this message communicated to potential partners would be essential.

The Partnership next plans to focus the efforts of working groups upon key tasks such as finding funding with the government and from private sources for building the program, developing essential branding and marketing messages, sharing how-to-guides for facilitating partnerships, and planning simultaneous 21CSC launch events for the Fall.

Study Finds that Service in Conservation Corps Programs has Numerous Benefits for Participants, Increases Conservation Stewardship

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